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Getting run over on the sideline by a linebacker landed her an interview with Tim Tebow

Florida telecommunications student Savanna Collins, an “absolute trooper” according to the Gator legend, added one hell of an item to her résumé.

Remember the first rivalry game you went to at your alma mater?

Your story is nothing compared to Savanna Collins’. You see, at the first Florida-Georgia game she attended as a student, she got trucked by a UGA linebacker.

Georgia’s Roquan Smith is listed at 6’1 and 225 pounds. You can see him immediately reaching to help her up.

When he hits you even at half-speed in a helmet and shoulder pads, it doesn’t feel great. Collins is honestly lucky that the cameraman in the black shirt took a bit of the blow before she did, but Collins still got to feel what it’s like to play in an SEC football game.

She has been an incredibly good sport about the whole thing, and told SB Nation on Sunday that besides a lot of soreness, she is otherwise OK.

She didn’t have a scratch on her, but did have a pretty great story to tell.

Collins is a 20-year-old telecommunications major from Lakeland, Fla. She works for ESPN Gainesville, a radio station that’s largely student-run out of the journalism building on the University of Florida’s campus. It’s her first semester covering the football team, and she’s known since meeting ESPN’s Laura Rutledge in high school that this was what she wanted to do. She said she’d love to do something specifically like what Rutledge does with the SEC Network’s SEC Nation pregame show.

On Saturday, she got to see the show behind the scenes as it was being filmed live in Jacksonville.

Throughout her short career, she’s been taught to keep her eyes up and pay attention while shooting a game. On the play in question, there wasn’t much she could do.

“I was filming the highlight, and I was zoomed in really tight on the running back, and so I didn’t see the defenders around him through my lens,” Collins said. “I kinda peeked up, and I saw they were coming right towards me. I started trying to back up, but there were so many reporters that by the time I started trying to back up, I knew I was going down. I braced myself, and I put on a tight grip on that camera.”

We need to talk about ball security for a second.

I must give extreme credit to Collins, because she keeps a tight grip on her camera equipment all the way to the ground. It’s not until after she lands that Smith inadvertently pries it out of her hand. Clearly, this would not have been a fumble, and Collins would have been able to retain possession.

“We joked that my ball security is great,” Collins said. “It would not have been a fumble. It would have been a solid carry.“

After the game, she found her tackler. She introduced herself to an apologetic Smith and complimented the Bulldog on the bite behind his bark.

“I said, ‘Hey, you’re Smith aren’t you?’ and he said, ‘Yeah, yeah’ and I was like ‘I’m fine, I’m the girl you ran over.’ And his face … I shouldn’t have said anything, because he was so apologetic. I was like, ‘No, no, I just had to let you know you pack a mean punch behind your hit. You just need to know that.’ And he just kinda laughed and walked off.”

As crazy as it sounds, she was actually in the right place at the right time.

After Smith helped her up, she was in a predicament.

The con: Her $30,000 camera equipment was in three pieces and in the hands of a stranger.

The pro: That stranger was Tim Tebow.

“Well, before the play started coming over, he was standing actually directly to my left,” Collins said. “I was fully aware of who he was, but I wasn’t gonna bother him. I knew he was there to enjoy the game. I’m just kinda going about my business.

“But after I get hit and fell on the ground, he was one of the first people right there beside me. He grabbed my arm, said, ‘Are you OK, are you OK?’”

(Tebow has a knack for showing up to aid people who’ve hit the ground. A few weeks earlier, he prayed over a baseball fan who’d suffered a seizure.)

She waved away those imploring her to see one of the trainers on the sideline, because she was still in shock and much more concerned about the health of her equipment than she was about her own body. With what was only minor damage, she was able to fix the camera, and it was then that her reporter instincts kicked in.

Tebow, an SEC Network analyst, suggested she film him to assess the camera. But that wasn’t enough for Collins. She handed the camera to someone close by and told them to hit the red button.

She got in the shot with the Florida legend to do an interview that she says will be the first clip on the reel she submits when looking for a job post-graduation.

At SEC Nation Saturday morning, Collins didn’t get to meet Tebow. Instead, she allowed herself to dream. Later in the day, it became a reality by way of a massive linebacker pin-balling her into the turf.

“The whole time I was thinking, ‘Man, what I would do to meet him today.’ This was not one of the conditions in my head. It was kinda one of those things where you think about what-if. So, the minute that red light came on, I gotta get it together. I gotta do a great job, because this is the day I interview Tebow.”

Not a bad way to enjoy your first Cocktail Party.